The world’s largest country by landmass is set to roll out a digital ruble next week after Russian President Vladimir Putin greenlighted the project on Thursday.
The text of the bill amends Russia’s Civil Code to allow the digital ruble to be used for payments, while empowering Russia’s central bank to let real citizens use the currency starting August 1.
Accounts for the digital ruble will be managed directly by the central bank, rather than commercial banks.
In a statement shared by Russian media central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina clarified that the use of the currency is purely optional.
“We really hope that it will be more convenient, and cheaper for both people and businesses, and they will start using it,” she said. “This is a new opportunity.”
The Russian government first began exploring the digital ruble in October 2020, and began piloting the system with Russian banks in February 2022. Two weeks ago, the State Duma approved the new law that will allow the currency’s use by individuals.
The currency will be programmable to implement certain transaction limits, and restrictions on what citizens can spend their money on.
While Western nations like the United States and Canada are merely exploring CBDCs, critical politicians in each country have blasted the concept for exactly this feature.
In March, Florida Governor Ron De Santis called CBDCs a tool for “surveilling Americans, and controlling behavior of Americans.”
By contrast, Putin and the Russian parliament have already banned the use of private cryptocurrencies for payments within the country, only approving their use for cross-border trade.
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